Indoctrination and a loony federal court in Massachusetts

      The following item from World Magazine was used in the March, 2007, issue of my free e-mail homeschooling newsletter, Biblical Homeschooling ( , or ).

     Previous items in this newsletter have chronicled the Massachusetts parents who objected to their 5-year old son’s being taught in kindergarten to approve of homosexuality. They have now brought a lawsuit in U. S. District Court. The school district which they are suing has asked the Judge, Mark Wolf, to dismiss the lawsuit. According to World Magazine, Feb. 17, 2007, Judge Wolf said, "Almost all moral education is indoctrination. It’s the reason we have public schools." It would be interesting to know what he meant by that. Is he admitting that the "moral" (actually immoral) education being provided to the kindergartners designed to lead them to approve of homosexuality is indoctrination? Most of us would agree! Or is he saying that the parents’ desire to shield their children from such immorality and to give them a "moral education" is in fact nothing but indoctrination. It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit plays out.

     After making this observation, I received the following information from World Net Daily which will appear in the April, 2007, issue of Biblical Homeschooling.

     One very scary reason to homeschool: Last month’s issue of this newsletter made reference to a suit in federal court by David Parker, a father who objected to his son being taught that homosexuality is normal in public schools. In fact, the son was in kindergarten when the problem occurred! On Feb. 24, 2007, Bob Unruh of, in an article headlined "Judge orders ‘gay’ agenda taught to Christian children: Rules kids need teachings to be ‘engaged and productive citizens,’" said, "A federal judge in Massachusetts has ordered the ‘gay’ agenda taught to Christians who attend a public school in Massachusetts, finding that they need the teachings to be ‘engaged and productive citizens.’ U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf yesterday dismissed a civil rights lawsuit brought by David Parker, ordering that it is reasonable, indeed there is an obligation, for public schools to teach young children to accept and endorse homosexuality. Wolf essentially adopted the reasoning in a brief submitted by a number of homosexual-advocacy groups, who said ‘the rights of religious freedom and parental control over the upbringing of children … would undermine teaching and learning…’ We have to wonder who appointed Wolf. A statement from the pro-family group Mass Resistance said, "Wolf’s ruling is every parent’s nightmare. It goes to extraordinary lengths to legitimize and reinforce the ‘right’ (and even the duty) of schools to normalize homosexual behavior to even the youngest of children…In the ruling, Wolf makes the absurd claim that normalizing homosexuality to young children is ‘reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens in our democracy.’ According to Wolf, this means teaching ‘diversity’ which includes ‘differences in sexual orientation.’ If they disagree, "the Parkers … may send their children to a private school …[or] may also educate their children at home," the judge said. In addition, Wolf makes the odious statement that the Parkers’ only options are (1) send their kids to a private school, (2) home-school their kids, or (3) elect a majority of people to the School Committee who agree with them. Can you imagine a federal judge in the Civil Rights era telling blacks the same thing – that if they can’t be served at a lunch counter they should just start their own restaurant, or elect a city council to pass laws that reflect the U.S. Constitution?" Mass Resistance President Brian Camenker had wondered why such national groups were "so interested in a parent’s right to decide what moral issues are taught to his children by adults in elementary schools, especially regarding homosexuality. They must see David Parker’s case as quite a threat to their ability to push their message on children." Parker’s son Jacob had brought home the book Who’s in a Family? in school’s "Diversity Book Bag" (reviewed in the 2/06 issue of this newsletter). Just days later, after David had complained, Jacob was beaten up at Estabrook Elementary, officials said. The incident made news around the nation and even Gov. Mitt Romney agreed with Parker. However, in April 2006 the same school presented the book King and King (reviewed in the 4/04 issue of this newsletter), about homosexual romances and marriage, to second-graders and again refused to provide notification. "David Parker’s dilemma … threatens the parental rights and religious freedom of every Massachusetts parent, and indirectly every parent in America," said John Haskins of the Parents’ Rights Coalition. The ruling is to be appealed, and we can only hope that the appeal will be successful.

Thought this was worth sharing about spanking

     The following does not directly relate to homeschooling, but it does relate to parents’ rights and has been a topic of discussion on homeschooling e-mail lists. Lisa Randell posted a link on a homeschooling e-mail list about a New York Times article, "For California, a bill to ban spanking for kids under 3 and making it a misdemeanor." I was unable to find that article, but I found another one from a Sacramento, CA, newspaper about the same thing. It says, "The state Legislature is about to weigh in on a question that stirs impassioned debate among moms and dads: Should parents spank their children? Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, wants to outlaw spanking children up to 3 years old. If she succeeds, California would become the first state in the nation to explicitly ban parents from smacking their kids." Lieber said, "I think it’s pretty hard to argue you need to beat a child 3 years old or younger." The anti-spanking crowd likes to refer to all forms of corporal punishment as "beating" because it makes it sound a lot worse, but the article does refer to her bill as "Making a swat on the behind a misdemeanor." The bill will be written broadly, she added, prohibiting "any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that” and making it punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000. Thankfully, the article notes that the idea is encountering skepticism even before it has been formally introduced and mentions that many child psychologists believe limited spanking can be effective. Legal expert in children’s issues worldwide, friend of Lieber, and supporter of the bill, Thomas Nazario said there’s no good rationale for hitting a child under 3, so the state should draw a "bright line” in the law making it clear. However, Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine asked, "At what point are we going to say we should pass a bill that every parent has to read a minimum of 30 minutes every night to their child? This is right along those same lines.” And Professor Robert Larzelere, an Oklahoma State University professor who has studied child discipline for 30 years, said his research shows spanking is fine, as long as it is used sparingly and doesn’t escalate to abuse. He said, "If it’s used in a limited way, it can be more effective than almost any other type of punishment.”

     Peggy Hicks responded, "I’m going to comment on this for a couple of reasons. First, I live in California, and second, the subject came up in a ladies’ Bible class about 14 years ago. We were studying childrearing, and one of the ladies made the statement that it was against California law to spank your children. At the time, we had just moved back to California after 10-1/2 years in Washington State and enrolled our children in a Christian school. One of the conditions we had to agree to in order for our children to be accepted as students there was to allow them to be paddled if certain rules were broken. That wasn’t a problem for us and the kids were accepted for enrollment.

     "I raised the following question in class: If it was against California law to spank your child, then how could the Christian school require parents to allow it for infraction of certain rules? Nobody could come up with an answer, so I volunteered to hit the law books, research the subject, and report my findings to the class the following week. Here’s what I found out: The law is very specific concerning spanking, especially as it pertains to children age 3 and under. A child age 3 or under can be spanked on the bottom or on the outside of either thigh with an open hand. The parent cannot use a closed fist, a coat hanger, a belt, a paddle, or anything other than an open hand. If I recall correctly, a child under the age of 5 cannot be shaken. Older children can be spanked, not beaten, and they can also be confined to their bedroom so long as they’re not locked in, without their parents being accused of false imprisonment.

     "What’s really frustrating about the subject of corporal punishment is that there are judges who aren’t following the law. Rather, they’re making new laws. Our evangelist’s wife knew of a case where a child leveled abuse accusations against his parents for simple spanking. The judge told the parents, in the child’s presence, that if they ever laid a hand on him again, that they would be charged with child abuse, with the child being put in foster care. By ruling the way he did, the judge placed the child in charge, and I know I don’t have to tell any of you what’s wrong with this picture!

     "I find it very interesting to note that the legislator who drafted this bill is someone who has no children. Years ago I worked for a pediatrician who had no children and she didn’t believe that parents should spank their children. Her fellow pediatric colleague had two children and felt that the punishment should fit the crime & that there were definitely times when spanking was appropriate. This brings to mind something someone told me a long time ago. People have no business commenting on a situation about which they know nothing. I’m hoping and praying that this bill fails."

     Wayne Goforth had this comment: "I know that the conservative talk show hosts are talking about a new bill in CA that is coming up for a vote that would outlaw all corporal punishment for some ages, I think like under 8. That surprised me as I had thought for years it was illegal in CA and was one reason we opted not to move to CA to work with one church." If this passes, it may well get worse!

Worldwide Homeschooling Talk Show

      On Fri., Feb 9, 2007, the following item was posted on a homeschooling e-mail list. "Dear Homeschooler, I want to invite you to listen in on my talk show. Yes, you heard that right, I have my own talk show! Homeschoolers everywhere are welcome. Get all the juicy details about it by clicking the following link: , or . All of the Homeschooling 101 talk shows are for homeschoolers worldwide. Please pass this message on to English speaking homeschoolers everywhere. Please feel free to send a copy to any homeschooling support groups you belong."’

News from HSLDA and what HSLDA is doing for homeschoolers

     German Homeschooled Child Sentenced to a Child Psychiatry Unit: On February 5, 2007, HSLDA reported, "The situation for homeschoolers in Germany is getting worse each week. Just last Thursday, a 17-year-old homeschooled girl was forcibly removed from her parent’s custody by over 15 police officers. The homeschooled girl has been placed in the child psychiatry unit of the Nuremberg clinic. Homeschooling is not legal in Germany. There are over 40 cases currently in court or being appealed. Christian families are fleeing Germany for safety in nearby countries. The unconscionable treatment of sincere and faithful Christian homeschool families is a sad legacy from Germany’s past. Homeschooling was first banned under Adolf Hitler, and that ban is still enforced today. Many families who have had their children forcibly taken from their home each day and taken to government school have since fled Germany, but there are still some homeschoolers. The latest incident involves 17-year-old Melissa Busekros, the girl sent to the Nuremberg psychiatry unit. What is being done to this sensitive girl–just to set an example of enforcing the compulsory schooling at all costs–is reprehensible and causing trauma to unassuming and lovable Melissa. In the summer of 2005, when Melissa was 15, she was told she would have to repeat the seventh grade at the government school because she was failing math and Latin. She had good grades in the rest of her classes, so her parents tutored her at home for those two subjects. When the school officials found out they were angry and then expelled Melissa, so the family began to homeschool full time. However, the Youth Welfare office then took the family to court because they were homeschooling. Then, on Tuesday, January 30, 2007, social workers and police officers came to the Busekros home and forcibly took Melissa to the child psychiatric unit where she was questioned for four hours before she was returned home. Then two days later, 15 police officers and social workers came to the Busekros home and took Melissa away from her parents by force and placed her in the child psychiatric unit. According to Melissa’s father, Hubert Busekros, this treatment was justified by the psychiatrist’s finding two days previously that Melissa was supposedly developmentally delayed by one year and that she suffered from school phobia. Nevertheless, one organization concerned with education expressed outrage at the treatment of Melissa Busekros. ‘The Netzwerk Bildungsfreiheit [the Network for Freedom of Education] condemns this inconsiderate and totally incommensurate behavior on the part of the officials involved and demands that they give Melissa her freedom and return her to her family immediately,’ the group was quoted in an article on its website. To view the site, as well as more information and a photograph of the Busekros family, go to ." Of course, there are those in this country who also think that being homeschooled is is some sort of mental illness.


     Government Homeschools Score Worse than Public Schools: HSLDA also reported, "Idaho has had virtual charter schools for the last two years. When the legislature approved creating these government homeschool programs, it had certain goals in mind, primary of which was to improve academic achievement and increase opportunities for learning. However, recent statistics from the Idaho Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT), show that this may not be the case. In comparing the results between Idaho public schools and Idaho government homeschools (virtual charter schools) in 2005 and 2006 based upon the ISAT, it appears that the longer a student is in the government homeschool program, the lower his scores are. Overall, in 2005, virtual school students scored comparably to traditional public school students. In 2006 the ISAT scores for virtual charter schools in reading, language, and mathematics showed a consistent drop in grades 3-10. The overall performance of students in these government homeschools fell significantly short of the performance of students in traditional Idaho schools. Virtual charter schools have promised better student performance, but they have not necessarily delivered on this promise. Virtual charter schools are still public schools and follow a set formula for each child. A reasonable conclusion to draw from these statistics is that when the government controls and operates homeschool programs, it begins to ruin them. Private homeschooling, on the other hand, has had an unbroken track record of excellence. Studies continue to show that private homeschool students score above average on standardized achievement tests-often 20 to 30 points above the national average-all without the government’s help."

     A couple of other situations in which HSLDA has helped: On Feb. 7, 2007, HSLDA reported the following incident. At the end of January, in Port Huron, Michigan, the Millings family* were minding their own business, homeschooling their children. Suddenly a social worker knocked at the door demanding entry. When the mother refused to let her in, and handed her a piece of paper describing her rights, the social worker crumpled up the paper and said, "I’m not dealing with it." Then she stated that if she couldn’t come in to examine the children she would get the police. She yelled over the mom’s objections that she wanted to "come in now" and do a strip search of one of the children. The allegations by the anonymous tipster were absurd. The family was accused of "only allowing their two boys to listen to Christian music." The tipster said that the children "ate their cheerios dry" and received nearly all their "socialization through their church." The tipster asserted the children were not in school. Furthermore, the anonymous tipster said the "fourteen- and ten-year-old were seen outside playing without adult supervision" and the mother "pinched and hit her kids in church to keep them quiet." The last allegation was the reason why the social worker wanted to strip search one of the children. Chris Klicka of Home School Legal Defense Association immediately sent a letter to the social worker indicating the rudeness and unprofessionalism of her visit. He also indicated that she obviously didn’t receive her social worker training in the Fourth Amendment. HSLDA, a year and a half earlier, drafted and helped persuade legislators to pass a law requiring all social workers in Michigan to receive training in their "duty to protect both statutory and constitutional rights of those being investigated."

     The Millings were able to get a statement from a local doctor indicating that the children were not abused, and letters from various individuals who vouched for them being good parents. Unfortunately, the anonymous tipster struck again and made another call. When the social worker renewed her efforts to personally interview and strip search the children, she indicated to Klicka that if she was not allowed to get into the home to do this, she would seek a court order. Klicka responded with, "You can’t get a court order, because there is no probable cause." He explained that an anonymous tip does not rise to the level of probable cause and that a court order could not be issued because there was not credible evidence. The social worker closed by saying she would seek a court order by Friday. By Monday, the social contacted the family and said that they were going to be dropping the investigation. We praise God for this victory, and the courage of theMillings family  (* Not their real name.)

     And one more instance: On Feb. 8, 2007, from Washington state, HSLDA reported this incident. Mr. and Mrs. Marrero were shocked when a social worker from the local Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) visited them this winter. The social worker informed the family that he was investigating them for the alleged abuse and neglect of their children. When the Marreros asked why, the social worker stated he knew that their 12-year-old daughter had tested positive for abnormally high levels of arsenic in a recent blood test. Mr. and Mrs. Marrero acknowledged that this result had come back from a new doctor they had just seen but that they had insisted that their daughter be re-tested since she had no symptoms of arsenic poisoning. The Marreros also let the social worker physically see their children, including their daughter, so that he could confirm that they were all fine. However, the social worker demanded to come into their home and interview their children. When Mr. and Mrs. Marrero declined to allow him to do this the social worker threatened take them to court and force the Marreros to let him in their home. When the Marreros stood firm, the social worker left. As he left, he stated would be back and that the investigation was not over.

As they were members of Home School Legal Defense Association, Mr. and Mrs. Marrero called us for help to keep DCFS out of their home. By this time, the Marreros had learned that the first test results were false. Further investigation by the lab determined that the original result was due to a simple math error. HSLDA staff attorney Thomas Schmidt called and spoke with the social worker, but he refused to drop the case even though he knew that the original lab results were false. The social worker insisted that he had to continue his investigation because of "other" allegations, refusing to say what they were. A few days later, the Marreros received a letter from the social worker indicating that the allegations stated Mrs. Marrero might have Munchausen by Proxy syndrome. Schmidt immediately wrote to the case worker and pointed out that the entire investigation was based on a lab error. HSLDA also informed the social worker that the Marreros’ various doctors also could testify that all medical testing and evaluation of the children were based on their professional opinions and there was no evidence of Munchausen by Proxy. A few weeks after writing this letter and contacting the social worker’s supervisor the Marreros’ DCFS case was closed without having to subject their children to being interviewed or their home invaded. "Had we not had the excellent help of HSLDA we would probably still be dealing with this nightmare today," said Mrs. Marrero. (Praise God for HSLDA!)

Homeschooling threat in Oklahoma

     According to Rick Williamson, OCHEC Media and Legislative Liaison, Senate Bill 375 has been introduced by Senator Jim Wilson. It seeks to require parents who educate by other means to register with the public school district and report student’s academic progress at the end of each semester of the school year. This bill is Senator Wilson’s attempt to answer the question, "How do we stop parents who say they are home educating and are not doing so?" The following is an answer to why, in this instance, hard cases make bad laws.

     Parents have the constitutional right to direct the education of their children. The State does not have the right or responsibility to interfere with the education of children not in the public school system. Aside from the Oklahoma Constitution and Oklahoma Supreme Court decisions, as recently as the year 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville, stated: ("In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the ‘liberty’ specifically protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right … to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children" (citing Myer and Pierce)). In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.


     To give a practical example of how these rights would be infringed and why this law is not practical, consider the "Meth Lab Example." Substitute "parents who are not homeschooling" for "meth lab." What do we do about the problem of meth labs being run illegally in homes in Oklahoma? True, most residents are law-abiding citizens. But, some have meth labs in their homes. We don’t even know how many there are out there. The answer is to have every citizen sign a document declaring that they are not running a meth lab in their home. To insure that there is no meth lab abuse in their home, each citizen will be required to allow government authorities access to their homes twice a year, so that the state can verify that their home is meth free. What are citizens trying to hide? If they are not running meth labs in their home, this should not be a problem.


     This is an obvious violation of our rights as citizens. This bill considers an entire class of citizens (home educating parents) as guilty until proven innocent. But, it is also impractical. Consider that criminals will not comply with laws that expose their criminal behavior. Scofflaws will continue to scoff at laws. Oklahoma has adequate laws against truancy and educational neglect. When necessary, with clear evidence, they need to be enforced. Unless there is clear evidence, as citizens, we are presumed innocent.


     This bill would be costly and burdensome to both parents and the public school districts. The public school districts do not have the funds or personnel to add registration duties or adequately access the progress of students not in the public school system. Increased regulation does not produce better students, only more impoverished parents forced to teach to a curriculum that may have little correlation to the actual educational abilities and levels of their children. It undermines our freedom and flexibility to direct the education of our children. The reason that I mention this is that if this is tried and found successful in Oklahoma, it may well catch on in Missouri and other states.

Another question from Answers in Genesis

     Q: When someone rejects Genesis, will they then reject the whole Bible? A: The following is a terrible warning for the church today as to what happens when one compromises on the Word of God. In the 1950s, a famous evangelist named Charles Templeton received wide media attention across America. Great crowds flocked to hear him. Large numbers of people came forward when he challenged them to trust Christ. But in 1994 he published a book called Farewell to God in which he totally rejected the Christian faith. He died a few years ago as a man embittered against the Christian faith. What happened to Templeton is a warning for us all today. He went to Princeton University and was taught to believe in the evolutionary teaching of "millions of years." He recognized that if this were true, then God used death, bloodshed, suffering and disease for millions of years as part of His creative process—and then called this very good. All through his book, Templeton wrote that there can’t be a God of love because of all the death and suffering in the world. The teaching of "millions of years" destroyed Templeton. Don’t compromise, as he did, and destroy your faith. (Weekly News, February 10, 2007.)

More good quotes from Home School Digest (Vol. 17, No. 2)

     Here are some more good quotes from the latest issueof Home School Digest.  If you would be interested in subscribing you can visit their website at or .

     Our standard: Steve and Carol Ryerson wrote, "When we are talking about our homeschooling with people who do not understand what we are doing, how do we describe our successes? Do we say things like, ‘Johnny is getting all "A’s"’ or ‘Mary scored in the 98th percentile on her last achievement test’? Do we say things like, ‘Heather got a blue ribbon for her lamb at this year’s county fair’ or ‘Sammy played beautifully at his last piano recital’? These things wouldn’t always be wrong necessarily, but contrast them with this set o f comments: ‘Johnny is learning to be more thorough….Mary is seeing that the LORD can help her overcome her fear of taking tests….Heather is learning so many things about God’s creation as she cares for her lamb….Sammy is learning to be more systematic in his practice.’ The best home education is discipleship at home not school at home. We should be teaching our children to follow the Master. That means He is the standard. He is the place to be. He is the One we follow. He is the One who gives us our identity. He is the basis for comparison, not any institutional school or well-known family" (p. 17).

     Public School "Homeschool" Programs: DiAnna Brannan wrote, "All over the nation homeschoolers are knowingly or unknowingly being recaptured by the public school system. Many public schools have created programs that call themselves homeschooling programs. They go by many names: charter school, alternative learning program, independent study program, distance learning program, etc. While we may share the same learning environment with some of these programs–the home–there are significant differences in laws, freedoms, and authority structure. These programs are creating a distorted view of homeschooling. They give officials and lawmakers the false belief that homeschoolers are willing to accept more regulations and oversight in exchange for government handouts. Worst of all, they may encourage others to believe that this is how homeschooling should be conducted….Is it possible the public schools are a thorn in our side? Have their gods become a snare to us? Is God using them to test His people? I say yes! These programs play upon our fears, doubts, selfishness, apathy, and lack of faith. They assure us that we are still homeschooling. They tell us whatever we want to hear. Later, they play an old sales trick called the bait-and-switch" (p. 18).

     Liberalism and God: Robert Surgenor wrote, "When I joined the police department in 1982, I found that the overwhelming majority of police officers were extremely conservative….We became police officers because we were tired of bad guys doing things that we would never do, but I often wondered why some people didn’t respect our authority. I wondered why some people followed the rules, and some people didn’t. I also wondered why conservatives were so ‘conservative,’ and liberals so ‘liberal.’ I think I have the answer. The difference between conservatives and liberals is God. That’s right, the major difference in the two philosophies is the presence or absence of a supreme being. This major difference in attitude dictates whether or not we spank our children for misbehavior, believe in or argue against the death penalty, support or protest abortion, and recognize or ignore instructions from the Holy Bible. The conservative relies on and believes in the infinite wisdom of God. The liberal does not" (p. 19).

     Education and "neutrality": Buddy Hanson wrote, "Neutrality is not an option. Do Christian parents need to be told that neither education, nor anything else, is neutral? I would certainly not think so, for how could a person who professes to believe in absolutes explain neutrality? When was the last time you had a neutral thought, spoke a neutral word, made a neutral decision, or acted in a neutral manner? NEVER! Every thought, word, decision, and action conforms to what we believe and what we believe is our religion. Public (government) schools are the state’s churches. They are systematically, strategically and diligently evangelizing our children, and the religion to which they are evangelizing them is the opposite of Christianity….While in the eyes of most parents, public (government) schools are failing, in the eyes of their administrators they are succeeding to de-Christianize America of its Godly foundation" (p. 22).

     Government education: Harry Browne wrote, "From beginning to end, public education is organized on the concept of compulsion. By means of the property tax, sales tax, and state income tax people are forced to pay for schooling whether they have children or not, whether they agree with what the schools are doing or not. The illusion of having influence through elections, PTA meetings, parent nights, or other legal avenues doesn’t change the truth: we are forced to send our children to particular schools where they are educated and indoctrinated in a particular way. What’s more, the price that American taxpayers have to pay for government schooling has skyrocketed. Twenty-five years ago, the cost of public education per student per year was roughly $2,000. Today it is over $8,000….Why can’t we just improve government programs? The answer is simple: force never works. Not only is coercion morally wrong, unjust and unfair; it is also ineffecient….What is the future of liberty in America? E. B. White, the author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and other children’s books, once wrote, ‘As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread, and the scene is not desolate.’ You are such people. As long as you and I are dedicated to liberty, the contagion will spread and the future is never hopeless" (pp. 31-32).

     Educational choice?: James A. Boyes wrote, "Often I hear from a variety of Christians that education of Christian children should be a matter of parental choice. Christian parents have the choice of whether their children will be educated in public schools, private schools or in the home. Christians who feel this way seem not to discern (or simply ignore) indications in the Scripture concerning this….Is it okay for Christian children to rememberr the Lord on Sunday, but forget He exists Monday through Friday? Why is He forgotten? The Lord is banned from American public schools. He is not allowed to be mentioned, considered, spoken to, during a major portion of the week. The Lord’s intellectual and spiritual influence is limited to Sundays and what little the family may accomplish during devotions at home. Is this situation Biblical?…This question comes to mind concerning this so-called ‘choice’ of education. Does the Bible allow Christian parents the option of allowing their children to be educated with false doctrine by false teachers who ignore and (in many cases) deny the Lord Jesus Christ. Is the education of Christian children really a matter of individual parental choice? Is this freedom of ‘choice’ supported in Scripture? Or rather, does wisdom, knowledge, and instruction begin with the fear of the Lord?" (pp. 35-36).

     Separation of knowledge from faith in God: James Bartlett wrote, "It is common knowledge today that serious moral problems exist in many families, churches, schools, colleges, corporations, and the political arena. These problems have academic, moral, and philosophical roots, which reach back centuries, and have been promoted by the systematic separation of knowledge from faith in God. The significant amount of teaching required to equip people with the ability to discern the times and apply Scripture by faith to all areas of life requires diligence in all areas of learning and at all levels of education. In contrast to the moral problems of our day, great success has been seen in academic, moral, and philosophical learning through the modern homeschooling movement, and those in the movement are now seeing the need to reinvent higher education….Secular universities are openly hostile to the Christian worldview…It is clear to many homeschool families that university education needs to be reinvented with a Biblical understanding toward strengthening the family and church" (pp. 37-40).

     Moral assaults on today’s school children: David C. Gibbs, Jr., wrote, "One purpose for American’s public schools has always been to promote American culture to the next generation. Forty years ago [when I was in school, WSW], the worldview that was taught viewed morality, work, and citizenship, in a way that was consistent with the Bible. However, times have changed and America’s public schools are now being used to promote a worldview that is often antithetical to the viewpoint of many families, and certainly to the Word of God. This problem can be clearly demonstrated by the public school’s increased emphasis to normalize the sexual activity of students at ever younger ages and to overtly push for student acceptance of homosexuality. While many public school officials argue that they are merely recognizing the behavior patters of students by promoting one particular viewpoint of sexuality, including homosexuality, that explanation begins to fall apart when one considers the general attitude of public schools toward drug and tobacco use. ‘Just say no’ is the prevailing message particularly with regard to smoking. Several decades ago, some schools had outdoor smoking areas for student use, but that practice is now outmoded as schools actively encourage students not to smoke or take drugs, despite the natural tendencies of some teens to experiment with these substances. However, the sexuality message sent by many of these same schools is radically different. Instead of encouraging a ‘just say no’ attitude toward the premature sexualization of students, schools are instead often promoting sexual activity through various official school programs. This inconsistency doesn’t make sense absent an agenda being advanced….Every Christian should be concerned about the value system being inculcated into the next generation of Americans. Will the homosexual assault on public schools succeed or fail? The answer to that question will only be found in each local community as Christians speak up for what we know to be true from the Word of God" (pp. 42-44). I do not wish to be too pessimistic, but from what I have seen, it may be that the homosexual assault on public schools has already succeeded.

     Education–Secular or Religious?: Michael Wagner wrote, "The education of children is fundamentally a religious activity. That will surprise many people, but it is nevertheless true. More is imparted to children in education than knowledge and skills; a ‘worldview’ is also imparted to them. All education reflects the worldview of the educator–education cannot be ‘neutral.’ The words ‘religion’ and ‘worldview’ are not necessarily interchangeable, but for the purpose of education they amount to basically the same thing. A religion or worldview is a basic set of assumptions about the meaning of life and the nature of reality. Whether in public school, private school, or homeschool, education takes place within the framework of a set of ideas that defines reality for the educator–the educator’s worldview. That is why Christians should not send their children to public schools, because public schools inculcate the religion (or worldview) of secular humanism. This isn’t necessarily done deliberately [although I do believe that it has come about by design, WSW], but it is the inescapable consequence of education taking place within the secular humanist philosophical framework" (p. 55).

     Homeschoolers and marriage: Michael J. McHugh wrote, "In early June 2006, the United States Senate rejected a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution that was designed to protect the institution of marriage by defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This legislative proposal was put forth by politicians who were seeking to raise a standard against the growing efforts of those that are intent on redefining marriage to include ‘same sex’ partners. The mere fact that such a bill was even deemed necessary reveals the extent of the current crisis and further clarifies just how intent the forces of darkness are in trying to undermine the God-ordained institution of marriage. As a Christian homeschool dad, I have watched the intensity of the attack upon the foundation of the family in the U. S. and abroad increase significantly in recent years and have sought the Lord’s wisdom as to how to respond….When it comes to defending Christian marriage, homeschool parents would do well to remember that the best way to defend Biblical marriage is for them to diligently keep their marriage vows. One of the primary reasons that the institution of Christian marriage is under attack today is that professing Christians on a massive scale have failed to honor the injunction, ‘What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.’ It is, after all, with well doing that we silence the foolishness of worldly men. Those homeschool parents who are serious about defending the covenant of marriage must, therefore, take a hard look within their own household to ensure that their family is part of the solution and not part of the problem" (p. 57).

     Arming Our Children: Andrea Schwarts wrote, "From a very early age, my children were exposed to Bible story books. When they were able to read, I began to study individual books of the Bible (KJV) with them as part of our homeschool curriculum. As we went along, we discussed the issues, implications, and imperatives contained in what R. J. Rushdoony calls ‘God’s Law-Word.’ We wouldn’t take on too big a chunk at any one time–just enough so that we had something to discuss and digest….I’ve had some pretty lively discussions as my children progressed in years, as certain passages of Scripture were used to justify or explain a certain behavior or decision. However, if they were going to cite certain passages from the Bible, I made it a requirement that they had to properly exegete (explain the verse in context) as part of their plea. There were times when I had to back down and reevaluate a particular issue based on their effective argument. This arming process will serve your homeschooled children in good stead when they venture beyond your tutelage into the world of junior college and the university–whether secular or Christian. Every subject and profession, if it is to be truly learned and lived out to the glory of God, must view all tenets, practices, and plicies from a thoroughly Biblical point of view" (p. 66).

Feb. 12th – Lincoln’s or Darwin’s Birthday

     On Mon., Feb. 12, 2007, Bruce Larson sent me this note. "Well, today has and always will be Abe Lincoln’s birthday to me. When I was growing up, both Lincoln and Washington had their own holiday. But no longer. As Abe and George kind of fade away, Charles is ready to move right in. Darwin was born Feb. 12th and several countries are moving to make his birthday a national holiday. Some churches in this country practice evolution Sunday. It was this last Sunday. Darwin came up with the words RACE, survival of the fittest, and master race. Race is not biblical. The only mention of the word race (which is 4 times) the Bible is talking about a foot race. Darwin came up with the race idea so he could put peoples into classifications. Now, you can have superior people and inferior people. Others took up what Darwin started and you have guys like Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin. From the words Charles Darwin wrote, came hatred, evil, death and distruction. Along with 2 world wars. I have written articles on Darwin and also have a new CD available called, Understanding Charles Darwin and The Greatest Fish Story Ever Told. I hope if he ever gets a national holiday, that they give him April 1st. Join my yahoo group where we discuss science, nature, & astronomy and its all Christ-centered and Bible based. . Stop by and visit. It is a group by a homeschool family, and for you homeschool families." For more information, you can e-mail Bruce at .

more information about books

     Since the last two blogs have been about books by Katherine Paterson, I thought that someone might be interested in reading my initial review of Jacob Have I Loved which prompted the whole discussion.  Book reviews are a regular feature of my free e-mail newsletter Biblical Homeschooling ( or ).  It will appear in the 3/07 issue, but I also post some of the same book reviews on a couple of homeschooling and family reading e-mail lists.

     Paterson, Katherine. Jacob Have I Loved (published in 1980 by Harper Collins Children’s Books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10019). This Newbery Award winner, set during World War II, is about Louisa "Wheeze" Bradshaw, who lives on Rass Island in the Chesapeake Bay with her father Truitt, a fisherman; her mother Susan, a former schoolteacher; her "perfect" and slightly younger twin sister Caroline; and her grandmother Louise; along with her friends McCall "Call" Purnell, Captain Hiram Wallace, and "Auntie" Trudy Braxton. The reference to "Jacob have I loved" is intended to compare God’s choice of the younger Jacob over his older twin Esau with the supposed favoritism that Caroline received over Louisa. This is basically a coming of age story, and to be honest, I did not like it. For a woman whose father and husband were both ministers, Mrs. Paterson seems dedicated, at least in this book, to the use of bad language (the "d" and "h" words are found frequently, along with copious euphemisms and some taking the Lord’s name in vain) and even apparently justifying it as letting loose of old hide-bound religious teachings, as well as detailed descriptions of Louisa’s female developments and feelings during adolescence. Religion plays an important part of the story, if inversely so, because everyone on Rass Island is a strict Methodist. However, the only person who is overtly religious is the slightly senile and bitter Grandma who constantly spouts verses to criticize and condemn everyone else. When Caroline is sent off the island to study music, Louisa, who has to remain behind, ceases believing in God and stops going to church. Although she eventually marries a Catholic and agrees to have their children brought up in the Catholic faith, her unbelief is never really resolved. Gladys Hunt in Honey for a Teen’s Heart says, "Paterson brings a Christian vision to bear on her fiction." However, her "Christian vision" does not have any relationship to what I read in the Bible. Rather, her brand of "Christianity" seems to be the "tolerant, liberal" kind that tends to make fun of what it views as the "intolerant, conservative" kind. Hunt also says, "Her books are not always optimistic in outlook but very moving. In response, Paterson would say that is the way life is." Well, really good literature may tell things the way life is, but it should also tell us the way things ought to be according to God’s standard of what is right and wrong. To me, this book fails on that account. One might reach the conclusion which Hunt did, that while for much of the book Louise’s attitude was less than admirable "grace triumphs as Louise chooses not to become what her vindictive (crazy?) grandmother is." Others may view it differently. I try to read these books with an open, unbiased mind, form my own conclusions, and then see what others have to say. Gladys Hunt apparently recommends the book. Barb Brandes and Deb Ekstrand in And the Winner Is…: A Guide to Newbery Medal Winners From a Christian Perspective said, "Some cursing, mostly during discussion of the same. For mature female audiences, at best. Good story line, but too risque in parts." I would agree that there might be a good story here somewhere, but Mrs. Paterson ruined it with the objectionable elements. It does not surprise me that it won a Newbery Award, because in modern times it seems as if the more bad language a book has, the more likely it is to win the Medal. I did this as a read aloud for Jeremy and did A LOT of editing, sometimes leaving out whole sections. Even with this, my wife whispered to me one night,"This is a children’s book?" And later Jeremy (age 10) himself said that it was so stupid and idiotic that he could not believe that it was a kid’s book. When we finished, I asked him what he thought about it, and he said that it was pretty bad but it did get good at the end. That is a reasonably fair summary. I cannot give this book a high recommendation. I will probably read Bridge to Terabithia and Lyddie, but after this I really have no desire to read any other of Paterson’s books. Language level: 4. Ages: no younger than 16 for independent reading. POOR.

     I am not a crusader for book banning or book burning per se, although there certainly are some books that deserve to be banned and even burned.  And the charge of "censorship" is ridiculous because we all practice censorship of some kind since we decide that certain books are appropriate for our families and others are not.  However, I am a crusader for good, godly children’s literature, and therefore I do feel it needful to issue warnings from time to time of popular literature that does not fall into that category.  Here is something that I came across just today.

     Patron, Susan. The Higher Power of Lucky. WARNING–In case you are wondering about this 2007 Newbery Medal winner, Laura Larimore posted the following information on an e-mail list intended for homeschooling families associated with churches of Christ. "Just for your information, the latest Newberry Award Winning book has been banned from some schools and libraries because of a controversial word choice on the first page. I will say that the word is not bad and is actually a proper medical term, but it may not be appropriate considering the age of audience. The title of the book is The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. You can read more about the book and the controversy at . The article, entitled "Children’s Book Stirs Battle With Single Word" by Julie Bostman for The New York Times (Feb. 18) begins, "The word ‘scrotum’ does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter. Yet there it is on the first page of The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum. ‘Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,’ the book continues. ‘It sounded medical and secret, but also important.’ The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. The controversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine." At least there are some librarians who have some common sense! In fact, Dana Nilsson, a teacher and librarian in Durango, CO, wrote, ‘This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn’t have the children in mind. How very sad.’ Nilsson went on to say that she had heard from dozens of librarians who agreed with her stance. ‘I don’t want to start an issue about censorship," she said. "But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature. At least not for children." AMEN! Of course, Pat Scales, a former chairwoman of the Newbery Award committee, said that declining to stock the book in libraries was nothing short of censorship. Balderdash. This is not censorship, at least in the "Nazi book banning, Communist book burning" sense that the "children should be free to read anything, including pornography" crowd wishes to portray by using the word "censorship." Anyone is free buy the book, but libraries should also be free NOT to shelve any book which is deemed inappropriate. The article continues, "Reached at her home in Los Angeles, Ms. Patron said she was stunned by the objections. The story of the rattlesnake bite, she said, was based on a true incident involving a friend’s dog." However, just because something is based on a true incident does NOT mean that it is appropriate for children.

Another book by Katherine Paterson

     It is intersting that I have had more response to the posting of reviews of books by Katherine Paterson books that just about any other, and so far all of it has agreed with my assessment!   Our friend Dawn Thompson of Madison, IN, sent me the following information. "I read Jacob Have I Loved after having watched a movie version of it. It has been a long time since we watched it, and my memory may not be perfect here, but I believe we liked the movie. It is what prompted me to read the book. What a shock I received when I read it! The movie did not contain bad language or anything to do with Louisa’s physical development and confusing adolescent feelings. I believe the movie was from Feature Films for Families, which would explain the absence of the objectionable material. I had the same reaction to the book as Karen: This is for KIDS? I absolutely would not allow my children to read this book.

     "Another book by Paterson that I suggest avoiding is Come Sing, Jimmy Jo. Several years ago I made the mistake of going to a play version of it without having read the book. It has many objectionable parts. I had the opportunity to speak with Mrs. Paterson after the play. I told her that I thought some of the content was certainly not appropriate for children. (I don’t think it is appropriate for adults, either, though I didn’t say so to her. I don’t think she’d have taken me at ALL seriously at that point.) I asked why she thought it necessary to include bad language, for instance, and she said she ‘had to be true to her characters.’ I told her that I thought it was possible to do that without including inappropriate language. Why should a child be exposed to that–on purpose? I told her I would not allow my children to read the book, and she responded that she thought that it was certainly right for me to make such judgment calls for my children. I give her credit for that, at least. I’m not sure why, but I read the book after seeing the play, and it was worse than the play. I think the book had more bad language than the play, plus the book also hints at an improper relationship between Jimmy Jo’s mother and her husband’s brother. Jimmy Jo overhears some things between them when, unknown to them, he skips school. Again, I wondered what Mrs. Paterson was thinking to include this in a children’s book.

     "Our library has 20 titles by Paterson, and I do not intend to check out any of them unless they are specifically recommended by someone I trust. Our library’s website includes a 1999 review of one of her books that proclaims, ‘Paterson is arguably the premier author among children’s book writers today.’ Not for my children!" It is always nice to know that one is not alone in his assessment of books and their authors.  I have one other comment.  What I am after in reading material is godly literature, and I would think that if writing godly literature and "bringing a Christian vision to bear on fiction" was one’s goal, then it would be more important to be true to God rather than true to characters.